MK Avi Dichter
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Spain refuses immunity
MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) was planning on taking part in an international peace summit in Spain over the weekend, but was forced to cancel over fears he would be arrested, and possibly imprisoned, by Madrid authorities, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.
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According to report several days ago, a Spanish organization called The Madrid Coalition, invited Israeli and Palestinian representatives to take part in a summit focusing on the peace process and the Saudi initiative. Senior officials from the Palestinian Authority, including Mohammed Dahlan had RSVP'd to the event.
The Madrid Coalition works in cooperation with the former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The summit organizers decided to invite a small group of MKs from Israel to take part in the summit. Former Shin Bet Chief MK Avi Dichter was set to lead the delegation.
Earlier this week, Dichter requested to look into the possibility that he may face legal action in Spain over complaints against him for his involvement in the Salah Shehade assassination, which took place when Dichter was head of Shin Bet) and for his involvement in Operation Cast Lead, Dichter was Ministerof Public Security at the time). After looking into the legal aspects of the situation,
Madrid officials told Dichter that Spain did not intend to offer him immunity from arrest or interrogation, after which he cancelled his participation in the event.
Dichter said that he had planned on taking part in the summit in order to discuss the peace process, but fears that he would be met with an arrest warrant or subpoena upon arrival in Spain.
This is not the first time that senior Israel politicians are forced to cancel trips abroad, or make a swift about face once they land in European airports. An arrest warrant was taken out against Kadima Chairman MK Tzipi Livni in England over claims she committed "war crimes" when she served as Foreign Minister during Operation Cast Lead.
Dichter responded with anger to Spain's behavior, sending Spain's foreign minister a harsh letter of protest.
Dichter noted that: "This isn't the first time I have come up against a dangerous situation like this one, where I go to a country and am unsure of my being able to leave it without being arrested. It is important to remember that that this isn't just dangerous for Avi Dichter, an arrest of this kind has dangerous national repercussions".
"It's absurd that representatives from the Palestinian Authority, who worked within the Palestinian security mechanism with God knows what kind of record, meet with no difficulties when they arrive in Spain. The Spanish must take responsibility for the situation and I am optimistic that we will find a solution", he added.
Tzvika Brot contributed to this report
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